One of the new pieces of gear I’m interested in is the MXR MC-406 CAE (Custom Audio Electronics) Buffer. I’m a big believer in buffers and how they help your signal and tone. You definitely hear “true bypass” getting thrown around on a daily basis, but buffers are critical to keeping your tone intact. Your enemy here is cable capacitance. This is where all that copper in your line actually acts as a capacitor and bleeds your high end. If you’re tone is darker with longer cables in line and your chain of true bypass pedals, that is what’s probably going on there.. add a buffer!
Now, some buffers are bad, depending on the circuit. You need to do your research of some tone sucker pedals that can cause a negative impact to your tone. Boss pedals, specifically the TU-3 Tuner is an example of a great buffer that doesn’t color your sound. For me, I prefer to have a buffer first in my chain, and a buffer at the end. Now, the buffer at the end is usually the piece I have a hard time fitting in depending on my pedal set up. For a while I was using a custom small buffer circuit I put together a while back, but this MXR MC406 Buffer by Custom Audio Electronics would fit very nicely in that spot (or in the front).
Here are some points on the MC406
– Low noise buffer in rugged housing
– Can add up to +6dB of gain with a slider
– Can compensate signal loss with effects with differing impedence
– Fine-Tune control with Hi/Lo switches
– Tuner output or effects loop for buffered/unbuffered signal
– 9V power